MC grad enjoys career in recreation

ryan colten resizedIt’s been said that you should earn a living doing what you enjoy.  Colten Ryan is competitive, enjoys sports and likes to meet people; so, he now has a successful career coordinating college campus recreation and intramural sports. 

“When I started taking classes at Midland College, I only knew my roommate and two other people on campus,” explained Ryan.  “I got involved in the college’s intramural sports program, and I not only met lots of other people, but also discovered my career goal.”

Ryan is a native Midlander and graduated from Lee High School in 2009.  During high school he participated in the PALS program, which gave him an opportunity to mentor elementary school students.

“We would hang out, play board games and play games outside,” said Ryan.  “I guess that’s where I first discovered that I enjoyed coordinating activities.”

Ryan attended Midland College (MC) from 2009-2011 and received his associate degree.  During the time he was at MC, he was a staple in the college’s intramural competitions and was a member of the Midland College Ambassadors.

Then, he enrolled in the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) and earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2014.  While at UTPB, he was also involved in intramural sports, which led to a part-time student assistant job in the campus recreation department.

In August 2016, he accepted a job as the Midland College Intramural Sports and Spirit Squad coordinator.  As such, he coordinates all intramural activities, whether it be football, volleyball, video game competitions or a myriad of other activities for MC student enjoyment.  He also oversees the MC cheerleaders and dance team.

“I enjoy providing opportunities for students to relax, unwind and get rid of stress,” stated Ryan.  “I wasn’t sure what to expect going into college, and intramural sports really helped me break out of my shell and meet great friends.  I want others to benefit from and get the same pleasure out of intramural activities as I did.

“I’ve always enjoyed sports,” continued Ryan.  “In high school, I played football—offensive right guard and defensive tackle.  When I graduated from Lee High School, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to participate in sports anymore; however, then I discovered MC’s intramural program, and it satisfied by competitive spirit.

“I love college life!” exclaimed Ryan.  “My college years were terrific, and I gained a sense of independence.  It’s a great time to decide on your life’s path.  My advice to high school and college students: ‘Don’t be afraid to break out of your shell and meet people.  Try new things—you’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of doing, and eventually, I guarantee, you will discover your future’s purpose.’”

Even in his spare time, Ryan enjoys friendly competitions.  He said that his passion is anything involving football.  He is also very close to his mother and sister, and the family spend time together watching movies and playing board games.  Ryan’s mother works in the accounting department of a Midland oilfield company, and his sister Cassidy teaches physical education at Rusk Elementary School in Midland.  Ryan’s father works for a software company in the Dallas area.

“I got my competitive spirit form my mom,” said Ryan.  “She loves watching football as much as I do!  She’s also a huge inspiration to me.  I’m glad I can live in Midland and be here for my mom and sister.”

Ryan is currently working on a master’s degree in kinesiology at UTPB.  His studies along with his full-time job at MC, family and leisure time and his beagle Wrigley keep his days full.

“I wouldn’t be in the place I am right now if I hadn’t become involved in intramural sports at Midland College,” said Ryan.  “I definitely wouldn’t be having as much fun.  I’ve met some awesome people through my intramural connections, and I’d do it all over again if I had the opportunity.”

Ryan said his ultimate goal is to coordinate campus recreation and intramural activities for a Division I school, but he is no hurry to leave Midland and Midland College.

“If I’m still here in 20 years, and people are still enjoying the activities I plan, then I’m happy,” said Ryan.  “I’ll give 115 percent to make sure I do my job the right way—or I’ll win the lottery.”